Can You Make Money Playing Poker? Yes, Use THIS Strategy

Can You Make Money Playing Poker?
Something that people often ask me is can you make money playing poker. And believe me I get it, I was pretty skeptical at first as well.

Here's the quick answer:

Yes, you can make money playing poker, but you need to use a specific strategy. More specifically, this means playing in the right games, playing against the right people and playing the right cards. In order to make money playing poker you will also need to have good tilt control.

And the main reason why you can make money playing poker is because it is a skill game over the long run. Many people get confused by the short term luck element.

In this article I am going to explain step by step exactly how you can make money playing poker.

How to Make Money Playing Poker Online

Let's first talk about how to make money playing poker on the internet. Because quite frankly this is the easiest way to do it. You don't even need to leave the house!

This is how I got my start in poker and I still play online 95% of the time when I am playing poker due to the convenience.

The basic idea behind making money playing online poker is you deposit a small amount of money into your account on a poker site, increase that amount by playing poker, and then withdraw it.

As I talk about in my latest YouTube poker video, I was able to take my first deposit of just $50 and eventually go pro and travel the world with poker.

Now, there are many different online poker sites you can choose to play on these days. And which one you can play on depends where you live in some cases.

You need to make sure that you are playing in good games that are full of bad recreational players who are making large fundamental mistakes such as:

  • Limping a lot
  • Betting the minimum amount
  • Chasing every draw and calling all the way with bottom pair
  • Showing down tons of garbage hands at showdown

You get the idea. You have seen them before I am sure. You have to consistently find these players online if you want to win big in online poker.

There is simply no substitute in poker for playing against bad players. Because this is where the money comes from.

This is why I highly recommend using a good free poker HUD especially if you play online. Because this will help you quickly get reads on all the bad players.

How to Make Money Playing Poker at a Casino

Making money playing poker in the casino is a bit different. First off, you of course have to physically go to the casino.

If you live in a rural area or somewhere far from a city centre this can often be a problem. Some countries also do not allow casinos at all.

Can You Make Money Playing Poker?

So assuming that you do have a casino near where you live the idea is same as with online poker. You deposit a small amount of money in exchange for chips and try to increase that while playing in the poker games.

You then exchange the chips back for real money. The only difference here between online poker and live poker at the casino is that you will typically exchange the money for chips every time you play at the casino.

With online poker you will typically keep a balance on there and cash out your poker winnings when you see fit.

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Finding the Right Poker Games to Play In

So now that you get the basic idea of how online poker and live poker work let's talk about what poker games you should play in next. For a beginner I would recommend cash games.

In a cash game the blinds always stay the same and you are free to come and go whenever you please. This differs from a poker tournament where the blinds continually increase and you can't leave or you will lose all your chips.

I recommend cash games for beginners because they are the easiet to get started in, require less of a time investment, and it is always easy to find a game to play in.

If you decide to play online poker then I would suggest starting in the 1cent/2cent cash games. Those are the blinds by the way.

This is a $2 maximum buyin game which is an amount of money that is trivial for most people. This allows you to learn the game without risking a lot of money.

If you play in a live casino poker game then the lowest game that you will usually find is $1/$2. Often you can buyin for around $50 or $100. So it is still fairly cheap but not nearly as cheap as online.

The other thing to consider is how many players are at the table. I would suggest playing in a 9 or 10 person game for beginners rather than 6. The reason why is the pace of action is slower which is better for beginners.

Finding the Right People to Play Against

Now let's get to the most important part of all, finding the right people to play poker against. Many people vastly under-estimate this part of the game and just sit down to play at any random table.

This is a huge, huge mistake that can have a large negative impact on your poker winnings.

The reason why choosing the right poker game to play in is so important is because unlike all other gambling games, poker is a game played between people.

Sure, the house does take a small fixed "rake" out of every tournament buyin and some cash game pots. But you are not really in direct competition with the house.

This is also a biggest reason why you absolutely can make money playing poker consistently over a long period of time.

So, if you choose to play in poker games full of really good players, then you are almost certain to lose or win a very small amount at best. This is why I recommend starting at the very lowest stakes, whether online or at the casino.

Because this is where you are likely to find the most beginner poker players (or fish) who will make large mistakes like playing too many hands, calling too much and so on.

Can You Make Money Playing Poker?

If you play online poker then I suggest using a HUD because this will give you actual data to tell you which players are the fish. You want to look for players with a VPIP of 40% or more.

VPIP stands for voluntarily put money in pot and what that means in plain English is what percentage of hands they play. 40% or more is way too much and it indicates a recreational poker player.

If you play live poker then you want to look for the players who:
  • Limp into the pot preflop a lot
  • Chase every draw and call with any pair postflop
  • Routinely have bad hands at showdown

And most importantly of all, you want to make sure that you get the seat on the left of players like this. This will allow you to act last after every hand which will allow you to win even more.

By the way, in case you were curious, yes I use several poker software aids and tools in order to quickly find the fish even while multi-tabling online poker.

This is extremely important for me as a pro. For the complete list of all poker software tools and aids that I use at the tables, click here.

Playing the Right Cards

The last thing you are going to need to start making money playing poker is the right strategy. And by that I mean playing the right cards.

Now quite frankly the easiest way to do this is just to go download my free poker cheat sheet which shows you exactly which hands to play, when to bet, raise and so on.

But here's the gist of it:
  • Play most of your hands when you have position (you get to act last)
  • Always bet if you have a pair or better
  • Don't bluff very much
  • Keep your cool when you get unlucky

This is typically referred to as a TAG or tight and aggressive style of poker. And the main idea behind it is to be selective with the hands that you play, but play them very aggressively.

This is the general strategy that will help you win at the lower stakes. At higher limits you will need to play a little bit more tricky, making more bluffs and so on.

But don't make the mistake of doing this at the lower limits. In order to beat the lower stakes for the highest amount of profit, you need to keep everything as simple as possible.

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Tilt Control is Vital to Your Success

If you want to make money playing poker then you will also need to work hard on your tilt control. This means learning to either control your emotions or simply quit for the day if you are feeling too frustrated.

Because here's the thing, due to all the bad players at the lower limits chasing their crappy draws and so on, you will take a larger than normal amount of bad beats.

Daniel Negreanu even talks about this in his brand new poker training course. You need to have a lot of patience in low stakes games.

Because the bad beats are going to happen to you again and again. You need to know this going in. But because they play so bad this is also why you can win so big over the long term.

It is very important to keep your cool when they hit their lucky cards and always remind yourself of why you are playing this game, the long term.

You cannot fight the math in poker. If you continue to make the right plays at the poker table and keep your composure, the math will absolutely bury these bad players in the long run.

Final Thoughts

So to answer the question of can you make money playing poker, the answer is yes. However, you need to use a strong fundamentally sound poker strategy.

This involves first picking the best games to play in. For a beginner I suggest low stakes full ring cash games online. If you prefer to play live in a casino that is ok as well.

The next thing you need to do is make sure you are playing at tables with fish on them. In online poker this is simple, VPIP of 40% or more.

In a casino poker game you need to watch for the people who seem to be involved in every hand and are constantly going to showdown with bad hands.

Lastly, you need to make sure that you are using a simple tight and aggressive strategy in these low stakes games. Use position to your advantage, always betting your good hands and keeping the bluffing to a minimum.

If you want to know the strategy I personally use to consistently make $1000+ per month in low stakes games as a 10 year pro, make sure you grab a copy of my free poker cheat sheet.

Let me know how you make money playing poker in the comments below.

Can you make money playing poker?


  1. Good article for beginners. Lot's of great advice here!

  2. Are heads-up SnG a good game to play for starting players with a good understanding of the game (good basis) but not yet getting a good profit.
    And if so, could you maybe make a blogpost about it kr refer to a good source? I really want to improve myself, but I can't find a lot of recent information about it.

    Thanks in advance!

    1. Hey jel,

      I would not recommend heads up SnGs for beginners. There are much easier games to learn and profit in. However, there is an argument that playing heads up is the quickest way to get better.

      Dan Colman for instance said in an interview that losing ten's of thousands of dollars playing far superior opponents in heads up SnGs turned him into the world class talent that he is today, making millions.

  3. LOL, live poker is my city seems unbeatable 1/2, they take 10% as capped rake meaning every 200 is going to be $20 rake

    1. Hey Moan,

      This is a good point. Sometimes the rake can be prohibitively high. It is important to check that before sitting down in any poker game.

  4. A thing that this article is missing is the reality check. Other articles in this blog like this have a reality check. That most people lose at poker.

    That it's a hard way of making easy money. It takes time and effort and blah blah blah.

    Keep it real. It's not a fairy tale of just printing money, but it's also not a unsolvable puzzle or curing AIDS.

    Good article nonetheless.

    1. Hey Gulas,

      I am glad you enjoyed this article! You are right, most people do lose at poker, as I often point out in other articles. That means that a small group win though as well :)

  5. I used to play zoom but I recently changed to normal games because you're always recommending to table select.

    I used to make a decent profit from playing zoom but not nearly as much as I do now.

    The other day I got on the left hand side of a huge whale. I managed to tilt him and stacked him 6 times in 1 hour.

    I'm excited about the profit I can make in the long run.

    1. Wow nice work! That's the way to do it. Glad my table selection strategies are helping you :)